Music in the Classroom
Tying music into education has found to be most effective with young elementary aged children and those with disabilities. Music has had extreme positive influence on school-aged and non-English speaking children learning to read, write, and remember. It is sort of a motivation to learn and do well in school. Music in the classroom must begin with the teacher and end with the student. If teachers plan to integrate their teaching with music, they must find an effective way to do so.
Chalmers, Olson, & Zurkowski (1999) state that music possesses the power to arouse or relax, create a feeling of happiness or sadness, and even alter physiological states of heart rate and blood pressure. The power of music has the potential to be used in an infinite amount of situations. Using music in schools is a more recent idea that is slowly catching on. There is, in fact, a good amount of scientifically based research that shows the numerous and positive effects of using music in the classroom. Over 50 years ago, researches found that playing music in study hall classes led to an increase in reading comprehension (Chalmers et al., 1999). Between then and now, a lot of research has been done to affirm this fact and much more. A common finding is the sedating effect of background music (Chalmers et al., 1999). The style of music has a lot to do with the effects produced. Music played at the rate of 60 beats per minute (the ideal resting heart rate for humans) has shown it can create a relaxed state for both adults and children (Chalmers et al., 1999). Music played at this speed also led to a reduction in noise level and the enhancement of attention (Chalmers et al., 1999). The study by Chalmers et al. lists 10 helpful hints for using music in school:
Try out a variety of musical types when selecting background music. Sixty beats per minute music does tend to have the best results when aimed at calmness and relaxation.
Make sure the students find the music enjoyable and that the students have some part in selecting the music.
Use an appropriate and adequate sound system.
If you choose to use music, make sure that it is used on a consistent basis.
Play music as students enter the room in order to set a tone for what is to come.
Be cautious when using music in a classroom of children who are more easily distracted.
Music can be combined with other relaxation techniques like deep breathing.
If using sixty beats per minute music, have the students take their pulse and try to get their pulse to match the beat of the music.
When with younger students, classic Disney songs really seem to provide a very relaxing atmosphere as the students find certain songs familiar and comforting.
Background music can be used strategically throughout the day, for a pleasant start to the day, a lift in the afternoon, and to reduce stress during more difficult assignments.
Diane Langfit (1994) lobbies for the integration of...